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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Medical Cannabis Bill Gets Senate Hearing

(News Release) HARRISBURG – A bill sponsored by Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) and Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Dauphin/Lebanon/York) that would legalize medical cannabis today received a hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee as advocates and families gathered at the Capitol to urge their lawmakers to support the bill.

S.B. 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, would legalize the use of medical cannabis by patients as recommended by attending physicians. The introduction of this bill marks the first time in Senate history that a medical cannabis bill has been drafted with bipartisan support.

“I am thankful that my colleagues decided to consider this bill today, as it is of critical importance,” Leach said. “The longer we wait to pass this legislation, the more children we will put at risk. I hope that we can advance S.B. 1182 expeditiously for the sake of the thousands of Pennsylvanians who need it.”

Christine Brann, the mother of a son with Dravet Syndrome, testified before the committee and urged its members to “put away [their] conceived notions about marijuana and to see this for what it is: medicine.”

Nearly twenty individuals and organizations testified in support of the bill at today’s hearing, including the Pennsylvania Nurses Association, the Dauphin County Coroner, researchers, attorneys, veterans, medical professionals and the families of children who would benefit from the bill’s passage.

During the hearing, S.B. 1182 gained the support of Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia), bringing the number of cosponsors to eleven. Senate Law and Justice Committee chairman Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks) noted that the committee will continue to accept testimonies and will consider this bill further in coming weeks.

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